Virginia Cobb’s Painting Workshop

I wrote about how difficult it was for me to motivate myself to paint after setting it aside for months. In order to get back there, I had to remind myself about what I had done in the past to jump-start my creativity when I’d had a ‘fallow’ time.

I turned this unfinished watercolour sideways to use as a background for a portrait of some tulips I bought.

My Skype painting session with my friend Kathy had helped to bring me back to the paint brush. I always liked to paint with friends from time to time because the exchange of ideas is energizing and rich. Another self-motivating trick that had always worked for me was attending workshops. However, I live in a tiny village that’s far from any art workshop scene, so that seemed to be out of the question.

Then I read my online friend Carol’s (we’ve never met in person – yet) Silverspring Studio blog and she wrote that was offering a free day of streaming of feature-length art video tutorials. I signed up and spent an amazing day in February watching quite a few artists show their stuff.

Virginia Cobb is an inspiring teacher.

For me, the most exciting video featured artist Virginia Cobb who paints abstracts using acrylics. I found her work to be visually exciting and her patter was very interesting too. While she painted, she gave a running monologue about her process and decisions. It was as if someone had attached a microphone to her stream of consciousness. She also sprinkled encouragement throughout her talk.

I was so charged by her video that I pulled out some of my unsuccessful watercolours and transformed them into acrylic paintings while keeping one eye on the computer. I dragged new colour across the painting with little regard for the outcome, but with joy and enthusiasm about the process.

I covered the watercolour with a pale green acrylic mixed with matt medium. Then I used a hard, rubber tip to scrape out the flowers before me.

Virginia Cobb is an absolutely fearless painter and I was caught up in the feeling. I was so impressed with the power of the internet to bring me such an inspiring experience right into my studio. It is possible to get the workshop feeling through an online experience. The pieces I worked on here are not like Virginia’s work alone, but watching her ‘what the hell, it’s only paper and paint’ attitude was very freeing.

I rubbed in some lights and some darks with a cloth and with a brush to give the painting depth.

Later, I reworked some other watercolours. I like how the background comes through and is so unexpected. Here is another example.

The original underpainting was watercolour and too tight for my liking.

I got caught up in the textures and had a lot of fun staining parts of the painting.

I tried to abstract the tulips and threw in some turquoise in honour of my friend Barbara.

In the end, watching Virginin’s video reminded me that experimentation is freeing and fun.

Ignore my mess - I wanted you to see the sizes of the pieces.

3 thoughts on “Virginia Cobb’s Painting Workshop

  1. Carol, after I watched the video with Virginia, I found your blog piece about her and linked it here as it deserved a wider audience!
    It is the great teacher who is able to communicate her approach and her enthusiasm to others. That’s good energy!

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